Douglas Emhoff, Kamala Harris’s husband, will soon become America’s first Jewish vice-presidential spouse. That’s a lot of adjectives for someone who seems like a pretty normal husband, particularly after the otherworldly marriages of Melania Trump and Mother Pence. Emhoff is, to a degree, a New York kid: He was born in Brooklyn, and his family background is as archetypical as a Spaldeen. His parents, Mike and Barbara Emhoff, have been married for 61 years. They are known Costco enthusiasts. Their daughter-in-law does a loving and absolutely hilarious impression of her first in-person encounter with Barb. Doug, from the age of about 5, grew up in New Jersey — in Old Bridge and in Matawan, where Barb was a local tennis champion — and the family moved to California when he was 17. But for the first few years of Douglas’s life, the Emhoff family lived in the building you see pictured here, at 1480 Ocean Avenue in Midwood.
His parents moved there around 1962, a couple of years before Doug was born. It’s a solid-looking building near Avenue J, a couple of blocks from Brooklyn College, middle-class then and middle-class now. Rents today are about $1,600 for two bedrooms, with some Section 8 tenants. The area was predominantly Jewish at mid-century, and today it has a lively mix of many immigrant groups and a sizable Orthodox population. (Though the East Midwood Jewish Center, a synagogue a block and a half away, remains Conservative, as it was back then.) Apartment-rental sites don’t show any listings at 1480 for the past several years, but a call to the management company revealed that the most recent arriving tenant signed a lease in June, and a representative explained that people tend to find apartments there by word of mouth.
Before they moved to Ocean Avenue, the newlywed childless Emhoffs briefly lived on East 15th Street, in an area that is today sometimes lumped in with Midwood but was then considered Flatbush. (My mother also grew up on East 15th Street, and reports to me that “we never would have called that Midwood then.” Noted.) Nineteen-year-old Bernie Sanders was living 11 blocks south of the couple, on East 26th Street. Nine-year-old Chuck Schumer was five blocks further away, on East 27th.
Curbed could not quite get the vice-president-elect’s office to comment on all this, beyond a friendly statement noting that it was unable to confirm the address. To be fair, Kamala Harris’s people, backed by the Second Gentleman’s, have a nation to fix.